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NYC Dinner recommendations for an LA out of towner...

I'm a total foodie (read: I live for food, read cookbooks like fiction, and my favorite birthday gift was a Kitchen Aid mixer). Will be in NYC for business next week and looking for some dining recommendations for dinner... have a huge penchant for seafood, ethnic cuisines, and general good dining (hole in the wall to fine), and always, always, always appreciates a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day. Staying in the Times Square area, but have stomach, will travel. Currently enjoying the plethora of restaurants in LA- looking to do the same in NYC, and would really appreciate any thoughts on the matter...

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  1. You can combine your love of seafood and ethnic cuisines at Ethos, a taverna-style Greek restaurant, on 3rd Av., b/t 33rd & 34th Sts. The Greeks have a way with fish and seafood, and at Ethos, they specialize in whole fish. Make your selection from the pristine display on ice at the rear of the restaurant. Then, the kitchen will grill it perfectly, and your waiter will fillet it tableside. Accompaniments are very tasty roasted lemon potatoes and, usually, green beans. There are also other seafood dishes on the menu. Start your meal with some excellent mezzes or, perhaps, a salad, and finish up with a sweet on the house.


    If you are into wine, Veritas, on 20th St., b/t Park Av. S. & B'way, has one of the most extraordinary wine lists in the city, and Chef Scott Bryan's New American cuisine is non-too shabby. The staff provides friendly, yet professional service, and the space has elegant contemporary decor. Dine at a table or at the bar.


    Enjoy your stay in NYC and Bon Appetit!

    1. Aquagrill. check it out. it's the best.

      1 Reply
      1. Check out: Lure Fishbar (the atmosphere is really amazing and so is the wine list), Tamarind (22nd Street location) for fantastic Indian food in a gorgeous environment WITH a great wine list...you definately need to eat at an Italian place, but I'll let the other hounders help you with that!

        1. Ha that is what I asked my mom to get me for my bday - KA mixer!

          Mermaid Inn - seafood in E Village (casual, cute and good). Lobster roll is rich and tasty. Other fish dishes are really good too. No dessert but you get chocolate pudding after your meal and a fortune telling fish. Cute outdoor area too - or you can eat on the street side patio and people watch.

          Kittichai - Thai fusion. I took my cousins here from LA (I too am an Angeleno) and they loved it. Actually they loved all the places I took them to so here's the list...

          Sapa - Asian fusion, great happy hour everyday til 7:30. Space is awesome and food is fabulous, but don't let them forget to serve you their freshly baked choco chip cookies! And you must visit the john too.

          Otto - Mario Batali's pizzeria. Loud, casual and fun. You will get mixed reviews here, but I think it's fun and have been there 2x and not had a bad meal. Great for groups and sharing.

          Sala 19 - Spanish tapas, better than any tapas place I've been to in LA. This one is my fave b/c it serves pan con tomate - simple but such a true catalonian snack.

          Have fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FIFO22

            Kittichai is great! Make sure to try a muddled-berry mojito.

          2. For what it's worth, my friend and his foodie family (the dad's 60th birthday was celebrated by a personalized tasting menu at Per Se) love Milos Estiatorio (Greek fish) best in the city. It's near Times Square. They also love Babbo (fine Italian).
            For less fine seafood, I like Pearl Oyster Bar best. Top 3 lobster roll in the city. Or just great simply-cooked fish.

            1. momofuku ssam bar: in the east village. go after 6pm for some awesome creative food. their banh mi is pricey at $9 but the best ive ever had...on amazing bread. the rice cakes with pork sausage is like gnocchi with tons of spicy pork ragu...its great. also liked the sweetbreads. its a casual place and crowds up at times but its definitely a place to go to. david chang is getting all sorts of accolades lately.

              veritas should be your fine dining destination. perfect service and deliciously prepared food. the best foie gras and lamb ive ever had. and yes, the wine list is perfect.

              i keep recommending telepan for lunch. it's $29 for 3 courses and there are tons of choices...all bill telepan's best dishes. get the brook trout appetizer and lobster bolognese entree...

              id also go to spotted pig for their burger. the place is ultra crowded and no reservations. i suggest a late weekday lunch.

              freemans for brunch on the weekend is fast becoming a nyc institution. its delicious and relatively cheap. great drinks. get the grilled chedder on sourdough with watercress.

              i also think one trip to brooklyn would be nice. id recommend peter lugers for the best steak ive ever had (and ive had steak everywhere), al di la for excellent northern italian food (get the malfatti), or 360 which is a bit hard to get to...you'll need a cab or car service but for $25 for 3 courses, its an unreal steal. if you go to queens, go to the bohemia beer garden in astoria for beer (once the weather gets warm) and go to sriprihai (sp?) for pretty amazing thai food.

              1. you might want to include getting a glass of wine (many by the glass choices) and some oysters (raw and also fried if you like) at the counter of the Grand Central Oyster Bar...a classic NY meal...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Simon

                  Totally agree with both Grand Central Oyster Bar and Aquagrill for seafood...GCOB has one of the most interesting wine lists in Manhattan and a lot of choices by the glass.

                  Other worthwhile stops to make:

                  Boqueria for great tapas (19th St bet 5th and 6th Ave)

                  Burger Joint in Parker Meridien Hotel (57th bet 6th and 7th) - not fancy but a fun little hole in the wall...great vanilla shakes too.

                  Landmarc (W. Broadway in Tribecca) - consistently excellent American food with a wine list that has a ton of 1/2 bottle options and only marks up bottles 20-30%. Ask for David Lombardo (wine director) and he'll hook you up with some great choices on their list.

                  Let us know where you go!

                2. if you truly will travel, head out to Astoria on the N/W subway line (about 15 minutes from Times Square) for some fantastic greek seafood at Taverna Kyclades on Ditmars Blvd. and 33rd St.

                  if you're using the corporate card, go to Tabla on Madison Ave and 25th St for trendy but really good Indian.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: HazeL4844

                    Wow! Thanks to all of you for such great recommendations... it's really too bad I can't just sit and eat all day, instead of going to do work... hope to return the favor to all of you if you make it to LA...

                    1. re: wenster

                      I would recomend:
                      Jean Georges, Danube, Burger Joint (as noted above), STK, Bond St (if its reopened by then) and Heath. All great places I've been to recently.

                      1. re: rdflig

                        Heath or Hearth? (If there's a Heath, where is it, and what kind of food do they serve?)

                        Warning to original poster: LA has better Chinese food than New York (especially Manhattan, as opposed to Flushing, Queens), so think twice about having Chinese food in New York.

                        1. re: Pan

                          Pan, I'm sure it was a typo, and rdflig was referring to Hearth.

                  2. For fish - Le Bernardin is still my favorite. While costly, lunch is ideal and the atmosphere is classic NYC. Another lunch fav is Lupa for a decidely NY atmosphere and it puts you right in the Village and on the edge of Soho. Momofuko is fun during off hours to get a seat and great/interesting small plates. And then in Chinatown, Joe's Shanghai for soupy dumplings and wonderful yellowtail done in a variety of ways. Enjoy.

                    1. Balthazar...don't miss it...especially love it for dinner..great food, great wine list, and wonderful ambience...Always see a celeb here...So very "French Bistro"
                      Otto....Different and fabulous pizza and gelato....This is a gem
                      Norma's...Can you do a brunch/lunch while you are here? If so, you must check this incredible place out...Not the usual "brunch/lunch" place..Far exceeds your expectations...
                      Mamouns...Cheap "hole in the wall"...you will probably end up eating it in the street...but OH....this is wonderful Middle Eastern food...Incredible ethnic food!
                      Rocco's...After your nosh at Mamouns, walk down the street and grab a cannoli or anything in the place...Pure bliss....Great Italian bakery...Next, buy new pants, next size up!
                      Union Square Cafe...Wonderful food and service...Lives up to its reputation
                      Mesa Grill.....Great drinks and menu...Southwestern inspired dishes, Bobby Flay style
                      Da Nico's...In Little Italy...never had anything but a great meal here..Eat with the mafia..fun
                      Tabla Bread Bar....Like "American Indian meza"...Love this place...Interesting menu and great ambience
                      John Pizzeria...Grab some great New York pizza...One if Times Square....Can't go wrong...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jinet12

                        Thanks to everyone for their replies! I have been to NYC and back, but have another work trip scheduled shortly, so all these will be taken into consideration for round 2. I have actually done Norma's out in Palm Springs and it was excellent... but how can you go wrong with Macaroni and Cheese with LOBSTER? I did try to get into John's since I was staying around the corner, but, alas, too busy to make it in time for a show. In any case, I'll be saving up stomach room for the next foray into NYC dining heathenism!